Skin cancer

Skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer found in more number of individuals. Almost all kinds of skin cancers can be treated effectively, in case they are detected at the early stages. There are many kinds of skin cancer that look different in appearances. Skin cancers sometimes look different from the pictures and vary from individual to individual. In every case, it is suggested to visit a doctor at the earliest so that any kind of if lumps, bumps, spots, sores, or other marks on the skin that are new or keep in changing with time can be detected the early stage.

Skin cancers mostly occur on those areas of the body that are exposed under the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays and such kind of cancer mostly occurs on face, chest, arms, and hands. Also, skin care can develop on those areas as well which are lesser exposed to Sun including the beneath pones:

  • scalp
  • ears
  • lips
  • neck
  • under your fingernails
  • bottoms of your feet
  • genitals

Skin cancers in most of the cases appear as a suspicious mole, freckle, or spot, but its symptoms depend on the type of the skin cancer.

Excessive sun exposure

Anyone who spends most of time in the sun have higher chances of developing skin cancer compared to the ones who spend lesser time under the Sun. Tanning, including exposure to tanning lamps and beds, also increases the chances of skin cancer; therefore it is advised to protect the skin from getting exposed to Sun and rather use sunscreen or clothing to cover your face.

Types of skin cancer

Below we are mentioning different kinds of skin cancers, all different kinds of skin cancer need to be diagnosed by a doctor. By comparing skin lesion to skin cancer images found which are found online is not the solution and in any of the case, consulting a doctor is recommended. In case you have any pigmented mole or non-pigmented mark on your skin that looks different from the other marks or moles on your skin and is not getting cured, rather is paining you badly, then visiting a doctor is the only solution which should not be delayed due to any of the reasons.

Actinic keratosis

An actinic keratosis may appear on various areas of your body including scalp, face, ears, lips, back of your hands, forearms, shoulders and neck. As these areas are most frequently exposed to the sun, so there are higher changes of occurrence of skin cancer at these areas. Sometimes they are often raised, and look like a small patch of sandpaper on your skin and in most of the cases, they turn red, but they can also be tan or pink. They might stay in the same color as your skin color. It is important that these skin cancers are treated in time.

One of the best ways to reduce the risk of getting Actinic keratoses is by limiting the sun exposure; these patches are considered a precancer as if they are not treated on time, could develop into squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).

Basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma develops in on the basal skin cells and these cells are at the bottom of the epidermis, the outer layer of your skin. Since these basal cell carcinoma look differently and looks like a sore that doesn’t heal even after seven to 10 days. Sometimes it looks like red patch that might itch, hurt, crust, or bleed easily. In case you have darker skin, the skin cancer looks like tan, black, or brown. These types of skin cancer usually appear on those areas of the body that are mostly exposed in the sun. Compared to other types of cancer, basal cell carcinomas tend are easy to treat. They grow very slowly, which in turn minimise the changes of their spreading to body parts as well.

Basal cell carcinoma might appear as:

  • A waxy bump
  • A flat and a skin colored or brown scar-like lesion
  • A bleeding or scabbing sore that heals and returns

The basal cell carcinoma pictures clearly indicate that this type of skin cancer usually shows as a fleshy coloured bump and don’t disappear over time. It tends to grow slowly in size which later results in breaking down and ulcerating.

Squamous cell carcinoma

This is one of the most common types of skin cancer which affects those body parts which are mostly exposed under the Sun. The tumors result in scaly, bleeding red patches, crust, and don’t heal; tender that are raised growths with a center indent that bleeds and growth that looks like a wart, but crusts and bleeds. Squamous cell carcinoma results in itchiness to the sufferers and it further increase the feeling of irritation as well. It is recommended not to scratch these areas of the skin as it can result in infections that need to be treated with antibiotics. In some cases if squamous cell carcinoma are not treated in time, they are tend to become bigger with the passage of time.

Squamous cell carcinoma might look like:

  • A deep and a red nodule
  • A flat lesion with a crusted surface

Any kind of lesion that is neither bleeding nor itching and even is not healing within a few weeks might be a concern even if it doesn’t look like these Squamous cell carcinoma images.

Melanoma

Though melanoma is not the most common type of skin cancer that grows on the skin but it is most serious type of skin cancer. In most of the cases, it develops on the legs of women and on the chest, back, head, and neck of men. Though in many of the cases, it also develop on some other body parts as well which include parts near to eye as well. In case you observe some of the beneath mentioned symptoms, it is advised to consult the doctor at the earliest.

A: Asymmetrical

In case you drew a line down the middle of a healthy mole, both sides will look very similar. Cancerous moles are asymmetrical; which clearly indicates that one half of a cancerous mole looks very different from the other.

B: Border

In case the edges of a healthy freckle or mole seems smoother than its not a thing to worry but in case, it is ragged, raised, or notched borders then it can be a sign of cancer.

C: Change in color

A healthy freckle or mole should be of same color and in case of color variation, it might result in cancer. You need to keep a close eye on different shades which include tan, brown, black, red, white, blue

D: Diameter

A mole or freckle which is bigger than 6 millimeters (about the diameter of a pencil eraser) might be a sign of skin cancer.

E: Evolving

You need to take a note of any new moles or freckles and look for the changes in color or size of your existing moles. These types of skin cancer normally appear on the palms or soles, or below the fingernails or toenails.

Signs of Melanoma cancer include:

  • Big brownish spot with darker speckles
  • A mole with change in color, size or feel or that bleeds
  • A painful lesion which causes itches or burns
  • Dark lesions on the palms, fingertips or toes can result in skin cancer

Apart from these, signs and symptoms of less common skin cancers include the following

  • Kaposi sarcoma- This is one of the rare forms of skin cancer which develops in the skin’s blood vessels and result in red or purple patches on the skin or mucous membranes. This kind of cancer mostly occur in the people who have weakened immune systems. People suffering from AIDS, and take medicines that suppress their natural immunity, or have recently have underwent organ transplants have higher chances of skin cancer compared to others. Other people with higher risk of Kaposi sarcoma include young men who live in Africa or older men of Italian or Eastern European Jewish heritage.
  • Merkel cell carcinoma- This type of skin cancer causes firm, shiny nodules that occur on or just beneath the skin and in hair follicles. Such skin cancer is mostly found the head, neck and trunk.
  • Sebaceous gland carcinoma- This rare type of cancer grows in the oil glands in the skin. Sebaceous gland carcinomas that usually appear as hard, painless nodules can grow anywhere, but in most of the cases occur on the eyelid, where they’re frequently mistaken for other eyelid problems.

What are the Early Stages of Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of cells in the skin and it is important to know that you catch the early signs of skin cancer. Any kind of new spot or marks that are different from the other marks on adult skin and any changing moles are important early signs of skin cancer which needs to be considered.

How will you Know If a Spot Is Skin Cancer?

To learn more about the signs of skin cancer, you can read in detail the symptoms and reasons of skin cancer in this article and once you are sure that it is not any normal skin infection or something that can be neglected, you can need to consult a doctor at the earliest.

How to treat skin cancer

In most of the cases, when skin cancer is detected early stages it can be cured by removing the lesion which can be performed in some of the following mentioned ways:

  • Cryosurgery: The doctors apply liquid nitrogen to freeze the growth of skin cancer which results in reduced growth of the cancer. This is one of the most preferred methods useful in curing actinic keratosis.
  • Curettage and electrodesiccation– The growth of the cancer is scraped off with the help of an instrument referred as a curette; the affected area is later burned with an electrocautery needle which in turn destroys the remaining skin cancer cells as well.
  • Creams: In some of the cases, the doctors also prescribe topical preparations and 5-fluorouracil (Carac, Efudex). The patient can apply the creams for few days or weeks as well so that it can result in the removal of actinic keratosis and superficial basal cell carcinomas.
  • Excisional surgery– The growth of the skin is removed using a scalpel. The healthy skin is later examined for a proof of skin cancer cells and in case the cancer cells still exist, the same process is performed again.

The skin cancer which has spread to your lymph nodes or other organs needs an invasive treatment which includes chemotherapy or surgery as well. Whatsoever, the case may be, it is advised to consult your doctor about the treatment option that best suits you.

How can skin cancer be cured?

Though skin cancer can happen due to any reason but still if we take preventing steps, then the changes of developing skin cancer can be reduced greatly.

  • It is advised to apply a sunscreen of at least 30 SPF every day. You can apply it 15 to 30 minutes prior to going outside.
  • In case you are sweating a lot or swimming, then you can apply your sunscreen again every two hours.
  • Avoid going out in the sun between peak sun hours, which includes timing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. IN case going out is unavoidable, then you can wear sunglasses, hats, and light color clothes that cover your skin.
  • Do self-examination of your skin at least once in 30 days.
  • Have your doctor do an annual examination of your skin.

When to visit a doctor?

You need to make an appointment with your doctor immediately in case you see any changes in your skin that are troubling you. Not all skin changes are caused by skin cancer and your doctor is the right person who will investigate your skin changes to determine the exact cause and will start curing you accordingly.

Have a healthy skin by taking care of it in a more hygienic way and if something wrong happens, consult the doctor at the earliest.

References

  1. https://www.mdpi.com/2227-9059/6/1/6
  2. https://journals.prous.com/journals/servlet/xmlxsl/pk_journals.xml_summary_pr?p_JournalId=4&p_RefId=875777&p_IsPs=N
  3. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2537026
  4. https://dpcj.org/index.php/dpc/article/view/dermatol-pract-concept-articleid-dp0702a01
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